Chapter 19: Screaming Dreams of wReam (I Have No Nose, And I Must Sneeze)

  1. Chapter 18: Ghost, Ghost, Gander
  2. RAC Challenge!
  3. Chapter 20: Like a big pizza pie

A Division of Pullemouttayerhat Productions
In Association with Fireblade Publications

#19: “Screaming Dreams of wReam” or “I Have No Nose, And I Must Sneeze”

Dirk Derringer, also known as Paragon, the Ultimate Man, drifted through a black void. All around him were voices, but two stood out above the rest.

“So Jerry Franke has decreed that Paragon should be given to me,” one voice iterated. “He has been saved from the Screaming Dreams of wReam, who forfeited his chance because someone sliced off his nose when he went to sneeze. And so it falls to Arsenal, the Lone Warrior, to make sure that such a whiner is taken care of. God, do I hate this job sometimes.”

“What’s going to happen to me?” Dirk yelled out. He only heard laughter.

“Paragon, are you awake?”

Dirk opened his eyes, to find himself gazing at the face of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Long auburn hair framed the face, and her sea-blue eyes penetrated deep into Dirk’s.

“Where am I?” he asked.

“Rest easy,” the woman told him. “You’re in the underground bunker of the Delta Squadron.”

“Delta Squadron?” he asked, still groggy from his fatal experiences. “I’ve never heard of you.”

“That’s not surprising,” she stated, handing him a glass of water. He sipped it as he waited for an explanation. “We were formed only six months after you ‘died’. I hate to be the one to break it to you, Dirk, but you’ve been dead for over a year. Because of a fuck-up on your part, the world has been taken over by Baron Jerry von Frankelin, and his wife, the Baroness Mary Lu Retina-Frankelin.”

At the mention of Mary Lu’s name, Dirk choked on his water, spitting most of it out through his nose. “My ex-wife is now the co-ruler of the planet?! How the blue blazes did this happen?”

“Remember reading on that weapon, ‘Use properly, or the World will be Conquered’?”

“Vaguely,” he lied.

“Well, let’s just say, you fucked up. And it’s up to the Delta Squadron to set things right.”

A chime from the doorway caught their attention, and a man in a wheelchair rolled into the room.

“And how is the so-called ‘Ultimate Man’ today?” the man in the wheelchair asked.

“A lot better than yesterday,” Dirk moaned. “Who the hell are you?”

“My name’s Roger Price. I’m head of the Squadron.”

“But you’re a…” Dirk started to object.

“A cripple?” Price finished with a smile. “Yes. Paraplegic, to be exact. Bullet severed the spine. Now, I lead the resistance against the Baron and his army of Malevo-clones.”

“Malevo-clones?” Dirk asked, puzzled. “Last thing I remember, I was leading an assault on the Baron’s Georgian fortress, when a nuke exploded. How’d he survive? And what happened to Dr. Silver?”

“I knew you’d have questions. Can you stand?”

Dirk tried to stand, and fell against the bed. His legs had atrophied from a year of non-use. Price handed him a pair of leg braces.

“Put these on. They’ll help you walk until you can return to normal.”

Dirk grumbled as he did so. He tried to stand, and found he could move around normally. He followed Price out into the hallway.

“Let me try to explain,” Price stated. “Baron Frankelin had apparently cloned himself, but kept the clone unconscious in his Geneva retreat. When the bomb exploded, killing both the original Baron and Dr. Silver, the clone was awakened, and took the Baron’s place. With you and Dr. Silver out of the way, he proceeded to take over the world.”

Dirk followed Price into a huge chamber, where combat was the name of the game.

“This is our main training room,” Price stated. “Here, the Squadron trains in the use of their powers and natural abilities in order to find and destroy the Baron, once and for all.”

“oh my god,” was all Dirk could say as he gazed about the massive chamber. In one area, superhuman fists smashed against solid rock. In another area, a woman shot explosive arrows in rapid succession at a series of combat robots that looked suspiciously like Dr. Malevo. In several other areas, people honed their fighting skills by fighting against each other.

“Dirk Derringer, Paragon, welcome to the Delta Squadron.”

Roger Price excused himself as Dirk wandered through the room.

“Hey, newbie!” a young-sounding voice with a British accent called from behind him. “Heads up!”

Dirk spun around, and saw a young man, not more than seventeen years old, toss what appeared to be a frisbee at him with amazing speed. Dirk barely had time to duck, as the “frisbee” whizzed by him, exploding against the wall behind him.

Dirk breathed deeply, then thought about his position. Wasn’t he on the other side of the room a few minutes ago? He noticed the kid with the frisbees on the far side of the complex. Then it struck him. He could teleport!

Dirk was so elated, he leaped into the air, trying to fly. He fell on his face, hitting it hard on the floor.

“You forgot the most basic rule of flying,” a man with artificial wings hovering next to Dirk stated. “Throw yourself at the ground, and miss.”

Dirk felt pain where he’d never felt pain before. He was no longer invulnerable. He couldn’t fly. He guessed that he wasn’t superhumanly strong, either. Dirk had learned how to teleport, but at the cost of his other powers.

Dirk felt a tapping on his arm. He turned to see a man with a wrinkled face and silvery hair near him.

“Dirk Derringer? I am Doktor Headzhrinker. Ve need you to have yer head zhrunk.” Dirk looked at the doctor quizzically.

“Private yoke,” Dr. Headzhrinker stated. “Ve need to know how yer deth affected you, ya? Please, vollow me.” Dirk realized he had no choice but to follow the doctor to a separate room.

Three hours later…

Dr. Headzhrinker sat at a table with Roger Price and the woman who’d greeted Paragon when he’d awakened.

“Zo Paragon zufferz from a mild form of zychoziz, vich haz rezulted in very vivid halluzinationz, vich haz led Paragon to believe hiz life iz being written by a zeriez of ‘authorz’, the current of vich iz Arzenal zee Lone Varrior.”

“Any idea what led to this problem, doctor?” Price asked.

“It appearz to be rooted in hiz problemz vith hiz ex-vife, the Baronezz.”

“Thank you, Dr. Headzhrinker, that’ll be all.” The doctor left the room.

“Where did you dig up that old fossil?” the woman asked.

“Robyn, you know our job is dangerous. Dr. Headzhrinker happens to be the best I could find.”

“He certainly seems to fit in with this crowd,” Robyn Leighton muttered.

Price pulled out a map of a city area. “Let’s get to work, shall we? Dixon City needs to be liberated. What’s the team we selected?”

Roger Price rolled into his quarters in the bunker, and opened a closet. There, before him, was a suit of armor based on the leg braces he’d given Dirk. His mind drifted back to that fateful day…

He’d been a police officer, back when he still had his legs. He and his partner, Robyn Leighton, had just busted open one of the biggest crackhouses in the Big Apple, and secured the evidence, when a retreating gang member took at shot at him. The bullet sliced his spinal column in half, paralyzing him below the waist.

But Roger Price was not a man who would sit by lazily as he lost his legs. With the help of his sister Ayla’s firm, Price Industries, a little ingenuity, and a lot of hard work, he’d managed to put together a working set of leg braces that enabled him to walk again.

Then that bastard Frankelin had taken over the world, and Price had been forced to drastically upgrade the leg braces to enable him to run. Not just at normal speeds, but at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. Then he’d added a portable flamethrower and a cryogenic device, as well as some lightweight, high durability body armor, and founded the Delta Squadron, taking the name Blackfoot for himself.

Price donned the various pieces of armor, then slowly, as if for the first time in ages, rose from the wheelchair, and left the room, headed for the combat room.

Dirk was finally getting used to teleporting when he noticed a man dressed in black armor enter the room. It took a good look and a run through his perfect photographic memory to realize that the newcomer was Roger Price. Dirk, being no dummy (despite some previous authors’ opinions), realized that the armor must contain leg braces similar to the ones he currently wore.

“Attention!” Blackfoot called out, getting the attention of all 200+ people in the room. “The time has come for an attack on Dixon City. I personally will lead a small group into the city to take out the local command center, with the rest of the Squadron to follow after a pre-designated signal. My team will include: Artemis, Shield, Silverhawke, Frisbee, Waterfall, Esper, Blacklight, and Paragon.”

“Me?” Paragon asked himself. “Wait a second. Dixon City. That’s my stomping grounds.”

“We leave for Dixon City in two hours. My team, report to my office immediately!”

“We’re in the middle of a war, Paragon!” Artemis, a lean Hispanic woman, spat into Dirk’s face. “I don’t care if Blackfoot’s plan doesn’t suit your approval. You’re now in the Squadron, and that means you follow orders, like everybody else!!!

“Yo, Diana, take a chill-pill or somethin’,” the youth known as Frisbee exclaimed. “I’m sure this bloke’s got a better way into the Federal Building than through the sewers.”

“Actually,” Dirk admitted, “I’d prefer to use the front door.”

“And it’s that kind of thinking that got you killed in the first place,” Artemis retorted.

“This is getting us nowhere,” Shield, a man of about twenty stated. “Unless anyone else has a better idea, then the sewer entrance is the way we go.”

Dirk took a long look at the blueprint of the Federal Building. Something puzzled him about it.

“Unless they’ve found it,” Dirk muttered, mostly to himself, “I used to park my Ultimate-Mobile in a sub-basement of the Federal Building. And it was never shown on any blueprints.”

“You know a way in that’s not on the blueprints?” Waterfall, a sleek young girl, no older than sixteen, remarked. “Where is it?”

Dirk placed his finger on the map. “The entrance to it was right there.”

“Totaled. Blimey! The A-Team couldn’t put this thing back together!”

Standing around the rusted out hulk that had been the Ultimate-Mobile, the Delta Squadron wondered how Paragon had managed to survive.

“Got any more bright ideas, Yank?” Frisbee snorted.

“There’s not much left,” Silverhawke commented, stooping to get a better look at the vehicle’s under carriage.

“Well, let’s see if she still runs.” Paragon said. Opening the door, he inadvertently slammed Silverhawke in the face. Pulling himself off of the floor, Silverhawke found himself playing stare-eyes with a human skull. A second skeleton sat in the passenger seat.

Yuck!!” Esper and Waterfall sounded together.

“Who were they?” Blackfoot asked, turning to Paragon for an answer.

“From the remains of their clothing, I’d guess Tito and Tina,” was his reply.

“The Ultimate Twins?” Blacklight asked. “What were they doing here?”

“Taking a joyride!’ Paragon replied, exasperatedly. “How should I know! I’ve been freaking dead for the last three hundred sixty-five days!! Missed all my unbirthdays, too. Gribblefritz!”

“Actually, as this last year was a leap year, it was three hundred sixty-six days,” Esper commented. “And Happy Unbirthday.”

“Thank you so much, Miss Spock,” Dirk grumbled.

“You said there was a way into the Fed Building from this room,” Blackfoot told Paragon, deftly changing the subject. “Do you remember where?”

“Of course,” Paragon stated, heading over to the inner wall of the garage. “With my Ultimate Memory, I remember everything.”

“Even the fact that you’re the Ultimate Loser?” Frisbee grunted. Waterfall elbowed him in the ribs.

“Let him work.”

Dirk found what he was looking for, a loose brick in the wall. He pushed it until it clicked, and a man-sized opening slid back from the back wall.

“Those kids better not’ve changed my office,” he muttered, stepping though the door.

A hand reached out, grabbed Dirk by the shoulder, and dragged him into the office. A blood-curdling scream was heard by everyone in the Delta Squadron, then a dead silence.

A woman with blood dripping from her lips walked out of he door, carrying Dirk’s inert form. Dirk bled profusely from his jugular artery. She dropped Dirk unceremoniously onto the floor.

“I’m Bloody Beth,” she stated, her fangs gleaming with an evil glint. “Who’s next?”

“Not the Ultimate Vampire!” Frisbee moaned, igniting a frisbee. “C’mon, boss, let me have her.”

Is Paragon dead? Is he still alive? Or is he something else? And, what’s this about him being dead for over a year? Who the hell is Bloody Beth, and what’s her connection to Dixon City? These questions, and many others, will be either answered or avoided in a tale by Chris Bird entitled:

When The Sky Hits Yer Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie, It hoits!

Lock and Load, the Lone Warrior Speaks:

Well, I felt that things were getting a little too out of hand, so I decided to make sure Dirk’s life took some really bad turns on a windy road in the dead of night during a thunderstorm. Also, I noticed that Dr. Malevo had been relegated to a supporting villain, so hence only the mention of him.

I pity Chris Bird. And yet, I can’t wait to pull my Ultimate Trick on the guy who follows me the next time around. ;)

No StarFall Comics title would be complete without a “Coming Soon” blurb, and this one is no exception. City Streets #4 will be out next week, with Swamp Patrol #3 and Metal Fire #2 to follow.

  1. Chapter 18: Ghost, Ghost, Gander
  2. RAC Challenge!
  3. Chapter 20: Like a big pizza pie